September debut for new E-Class cabriolet in South Africa

Series production of the new E-Class Cabriolet has started at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen.

Brian Joss – The open four-seater with a classic fabric soft top combines puristic, sensuous design with long-distance comfort for four occupants and the latest technology. This includes comprehensive smartphone integration with a wireless charging and key function, a widescreen cockpit and the latest assistance systems.

The local South African market introduction is in September, completing the new E-Class family range.

Finishing touch: polishing the new E Class Cabriolet. Picture: Quickpic

“The new E-Class Cabriolet with its wide variety of equipment choices is an outstanding example of the high level of variance that we implement today in our plants. Maximum flexibility is a central success factor in the production strategy of Mercedes-Benz Cars. With its strong team and start-up experience over recent years, the Bremen plant sets standards in the global production network,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

The production start of the new Cabriolet is a milestone for the Bremen production site: within a period of three years, the plant has completely renewed its product range consisting of ten models. “With the production start of the E-Class Cabriolet we have successfully managed the latest in a whole series of start-ups,” says plant manager Peter Theurer. “This means that the team in Bremen has maximum production flexibility across the whole range of models, variants and drive systems. Thus, we are very well positioned for the future, and can respond rapidly to customer demand.” By the end of the decade, the portfolio of vehicles “Made in Bremen” will comprise the full range of intelligent drive systems – from classic combustion engine and plug-in hybrids through to fuel cell and electric vehicles.

“The new E-Class Cabriolets is an impressive product, made by colleagues of an even more impressive team,” says Michael Peters, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Works Council in Bremen. “Only their commitment made such a start-up marathon possible, over all new products at the Bremen location, in this short time. We are proud that our very sporting goals have been achieved in the past months. This was possible because everyone involved acted as part of one team.”

Intelligent production concept for maximum variety In the assembly shop, the new E-Class Cabriolet is produced on the same line as the E-Class Coupé, the C-Class Coupé and the C-Class Cabriolet. During the start-up phase, the Bremen team worked together closely with colleagues from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, where the Saloon and Estate models as parts of the product family are produced. The transfer of know-how and experience between the plants has proved successful over several years, and strengthens the bond between the start-up teams. Together, the three-dimensional, virtual assembly of the vehicle was tested in so-called digital workshops, and training courses on the complex special equipment were carried out. 

The wide range of features makes the E-Class Cabriolet require production efficiency and flexibility, which is also achieved by using intelligent logistical concepts. Driverless transport systems deliver baskets containing the precise components and parts required for the individual vehicle to the production line, where they are then fitted without the need for intermediate buffering. Thanks to early involvement of the start-up team in vehicle development, the working procedures in production are initially optimised in terms of buildability and ergonomics. The Bremen team also employs digital communication technologies: the so-called “Q-Gate”, for example, allows live visualisation of the production stages on the line, making digital quality control processes possible in real time. Besides, the concept of a paperless factory that replaces documentation of the individual working stages on paper is being gradually integrated into the production shops using the latest data transfer methods and new hardware solutions.

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